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Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF) is a further extension of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). Under VPF, the employees contribute a higher amount than the minimum requirement of 12% of their basic salary. The interest rate applicable to the EPF (VPF as well) contributions is 8.5% for FY 2020-21. We have covered the following in this article:
Under the Employees’ Provident Fund provisions, both employees and employers contribute a certain amount every month. The minimum contribution that an employee should make is 12% of their basic salary. The employer will also make an equivalent contribution.
However, the employee’s contribution is not restricted, they can invest how much ever they want, but the employer’s contribution is restricted to the bare minimum.
Whatever the amount contributed by the employee that exceeds the minimum requirement is termed as the Voluntary Provident Fund, there is no capping on the amount that can be contributed towards VPF. The contributions made towards VPF are eligible for tax deductions under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
The Voluntary Provident Fund (VPF) is one of the tax-saving investments covered under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. It offers tax deductions of up to Rs 1,50,000 a year and taxpayers can save up to Rs 46,800 a year in taxes. The sovereign guarantees back the EPF investments, and hence, they are absolutely safe. Furthermore, the EPF investments earn a guaranteed rate of returns at 8.5% p.a.
The other government offered investment options gives returns in the range of 5% to 7% while the EPF is currently providing interest at the rate of 8.65%, which is much higher than what PPF is offering. Also, the contributions are directly deducted from the salary and deposited to your EPF account. There is no need to maintain a sperate account for the VPF investment.
Like mentioned earlier, there is no need to maintain a separate account to make VPF investments. Your VPF contributions are deposited into your EPF account. All you need to do is inform your employer that you are willing to make a higher EPF contribution. The HR or the payroll department will deduct the excess sum you are ready to invest as VPF. These accounts are transferable across all eligible employers.
The VPF contributions too enjoy the same tax norms that EPF contributions do. The taxpayers can deduct up to Rs 1,50,000 a year by investing in VPF. The interest earned on VPF is tax-free and withdrawals made after a period of five years are also made tax-exempt. Partial or full withdrawals made within five years are taxable.
Investing in VPF is an excellent option for those eligible. They don’t have to look for other tax-saving options as they can fully utilise their Section 80C limit with VPF itself, which offers much higher returns (guaranteed) than any other government-provided investment scheme.